Gerard Pique's retirement announcement came out of nowhere on Thursday, not least for Mikel Arteta who heard the news from a journalist mid-way through an Arsenal press conference.
Following his side's 1-0 win over FC Zurich in the Europa League, Arteta began fielding questions from the press as usual, but was completely stumped after being asked his view on Pique's shock decision.
"Sorry?" the Spaniard asked, leaning forward in his chair before glancing over to an official who confirmed the news. "Okay, I just found out I will remember that you gave me the news!"
READ MORE: Gerard Pique quitting football as Barcelona star retiring after 'cheating' storm
Arteta continued: "[He’s had] an incredible career and an incredible character. He’s given so much to this game… and he will be missed because I think he was a world-class player."
Pique will bring the curtain down on his illustrious career following this weekend's game with Almeria at the Camp Nou. The 35-year-old has spent the majority of career at Barcelona, winning eight La Liga titles and three Champions League across a 600+ appearance spell.
His decision comes just a few months after he and long-term partner Shakira announced their break-up and amid allegations of infidelity.
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The defender hasn't played much for Barcelona this campaign after losing his place in the first team, but mid-season retirements are extremely rare, especially those unrelated to injury, and the fact that the Catalan giants are still in financial peril, and that Pique is one of the highest-earners at the club, some are speculating that the club may have influenced his decision.
Regardless, Pique backed himself into a corner by promising never to retire once his Barcelona career ended, admitting in his announcement video: "I have always said that after Barcelona there wouldn’t be another team and that’s the way it will be. This Saturday will be my last game in the Camp Nou."
The ex-Manchester United man added: "Football has given me everything. Barcelona has given me everything. You, culers [Barcelona fans], have given me everything. And now that [this] kid's dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I've decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end.
"I will become a regular fan. I will support the team. I will pass my love for Barca to my children, like my family did with me. And you know me, sooner or later, I will be back."
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